French bank Crédit Agricole has finally bought Champagne house Taittinger in a deal worth around EUR660m (US$841m).

A unit of the bank, Crédit Agricole du Nord Est, yesterday (31 May) secured the acquisition of Taittinger, the world's sixth-largest Champagne producer, after a long-running and closely fought auction. Taittinger was put on the block by its owner, US real estate group Starwood Capital, in March.

The bank is understood to have teamed up with Taittinger family members including Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, the firm's deputy managing director and grandson of the company's founder. Their bid trumped seven other offers, including one from India's UB Group.

Under the deal, Crédit Agricole du Nord Est has also secured Taittinger's 75.9% stake in Californian wine producer Domaine Carneros. Starwood, however, has a short-term option to keep Taittinger's Loire wine producer, Bouvet-Ladubay.

"Crédit Agricole du Nord Est's offer fulfils all criteria set by Starwood for the sale of this unique group of assets," said Starwood CEO Barry Sternlicht. "We are optimistic that the future of this wonderful company is as bright as its glorious past."

Crédit Agricole officials failed to return a request for comment when contacted by just-drinks today.